June 27, 2016


Prosecutor, AG take Head Start case to Ohio Supreme Court

ELYRIA — Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision that split the fates of the co-defendants in the controversial Head Start child molestation case.





The 9th District Court of Appeals ruled in June that county Common Pleas Judge James Burge had the power to acquit Nancy Smith because at the end of the 1994 trial her lawyer asked Burge’s predecessor to acquit his client despite the jury verdict.

But the appeals court ruled that because Joseph Allen’s trial lawyer had not done the same thing, Allen must be resentenced by Burge.

Burge had acquitted both Smith and Allen last year after a technical flaw in their original sen-tencing entries brought the matter back before him. He had originally planned to hold new sentenc-ing hearings for the pair, but instead said the evidence against them didn’t support a conviction.

Prosecutors contend Burge never should have been able to hold a new sentencing hearing, which gave the judge the ability to review old decisions in the case. Will has said that the problem with the original sentencing entries should have been corrected with new sentencing entries.

Read Saturday’s Chronicle for more on this story.

About Brad Dicken

Brad Dicken is the senior writer for the Chronicle-Telegram. He covers courts and county government, and has been with the Chronicle since 2001. He can be reached at 329-7147 or BDicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter.